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From Hustle Culture to Heartfelt Leadership
A Personal Journey
I f***** up this earlier this week with my team.
I’m going to share the full story with you.
I’m also going to reference “The Way of the Shepherd.”
It’s a leadership and management book that presents seven principles for managing people, based on the metaphor of a shepherd leading and caring for your flock.
It’s most applicable for this story.
High-Level Overview of today’s Philo Letter:
Quote: On Leadership
Competency Skill : Drive for Results
Mental Model: 7 Principles of Leadership
Lessons Learned: You don’t have to push everyone so hard all the time.
People are silently begging to be led.
You see, I have an insatiable Drive for Results.
I’m also going to break down this competency of “Drive for Results” for you.
With my background, it can often come off as urgency to others.
I COME FROM HUSTLE CULTURE.
For more than a decade.
I’ve led teams of 50+ members.
I’ve scaled to 100+ retail locations.
Generated multi-million dollar campaigns.
And know what it takes to foster collaboration between various departments.
Through all of this, I’ve learned what destroys relationships.
A Paradigm Shift
A new mindset is needed within organizations.
One in which I intend on leading.
Against uncertainty and volatility, most leaders retreat to old habits.
And conventional wisdom won't save you.
Especially considering the business I’m currently scaling.
SomatIQ™ Breathwork which is a team of highly sensitive team members.
Hustle culture just won’t work.
And I have SO much resistance in accepting this.
I have a saying “the fast eat the slow.”
There is so much truth in those five words. But here’s the catch…
The fast burnout.
The fast become overwhelmed.
The fast breakdown and destroy their relationships through a relentless drive for results.
Now listen, a drive for results is NOT wrong.
But the delivery in which you drive for results is paramount to the success of not only your organization, but your life.
If you have a team that you manage, keep pushing, and they will resent you.
Keep pushing…and you will break, I promise.
The Way of the Shepard: 7 Principles for Leadership
Principle 1: Know the condition of your flock.
A good leader should be aware of the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of their team members.
On Monday I was running through my project management system for my team.
I hit any tasks that were active but didn’t follow the framework provided and that lacked deadlines.
I pinged the respective members asking for deadlines.
Unsatisfied with the responses, which didn’t provide any physical deadline, I set deadlines for them.
Now some of you may be thinking that’s not so bad…but here’s the thing…
The delivery, tone, and language is everything.
And I was missing context vs assuming positive intent.
This ended up causing friction amongst the members.
Friction that halted progress for the week.
The very opposite of Drive for Results.
In my former business. I would have created an NTF (note to file) for the individual and disciplinary action would have been taken.
I.e. a strike on their profile.
Three strikes and you go on a development plan.
If improvements aren’t made, you’re off the team.
Principle 2: Discover the shape of your sheep.
Recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of each team member, and help them develop their strengths.
You can not expect each team member to operate the same as one another.
There is so much complexity in managing humans.
Emotions, hormones, timing, life experiences.
You name it.
The opportunity was not on them.
It was actually on me…
Had I taken a softer delivery, a more humble approach vs demanding the results would have been different.
It was in fact me who slowed the business down through a lack of composure (something I preach on so much)…how about that 🥴
And I KNOW there are some of you reading this probably saying to yourself, they should have had a deadline!
Yes, they should have, but it doesn’t matter.
A leader purpose is to build trust amongst the team in order to foster collaboration.
Principle 3: Help your sheep identify with you.
Build trust and loyalty by setting an example for your team and being consistent in your actions.
The following day I met with this team member.
During that exchange they had stated “you caught me off guard, the Nadeem I know if much softer than this. It’s like an alter ego came out”.
My reply: “Yes, because I draw the line between work and being friends. I’ve been taken advantage of in the past for not drawing a clear boundaries. My purpose here to drive results and hit our company goals.”
This is a very “hustle culture” mentality.
It neglects the other people involved.
What they may be going through, what other tasks they’re struggling with, and adds unnecessary pressure.
The f****** up part is that I know this…
But as I stated in the beginning “Against uncertainty and volatility, most leaders retreat to old habits.”
And that’s exactly what I did.
I let my own history get in the way of the one thing I aspire to bring to collective healing, compassionate leadership.
Principle 4: Make your pasture a safe place
Create a healthy work environment that fosters growth, learning, and creativity.
According to a 2019 study by Gartner, 74% of employees feel they are not reaching their full creative potential at work.
And a 2021 study by Gallup: Organizations that invest in creating a healthy work environment with a focus on growth, learning, and creativity experienced a 17% increase in employee productivity, and a 21% increase in profitability compared to organizations that do not prioritize such environments.
As a leader, of a team, family, community. We have to foster a healthy environment.
It’s our duty. To bring out the best in others.
Nothing crushes the spirit of another more quickly than casting a shadow over their creativity or ideas.
Principle 5: The staff of direction
Guide your team towards a shared goal, and help them understand the vision and objectives.
Rather than demanding deadlines.
Instead, I should’ve reminded the team member of the goal we’re striving for.
The importance and the impact we’ll have on the world if we hit this target.
That goal being 1,200 members in our SomatIQ™ Breathwork Community.
The vision of helping them connect themselves so that they can connect with others.
So that people can be reminded that they’re not alone and that they do not have to do it (life) alone.
You see, a simple reminder of that. Would have been much more effective at lighting a fire vs demanding a deadline.
Principle 6: The rod of correction
Address issues and conflicts within the team, and provide constructive feedback to help team members improve.
If someone is inefficient in their approach to their work.
You do not demand more.
Nor do you degrade or belittle them.
You coach them.
You ask questions.
Do not impose your will.
And do your best to make it their idea.
If you master that skill, they will run through walls like the Kool-Aide man yellin “OH-YEAHH!”
Principle 7: The heart of the shepherd
Show genuine care and concern for your team members, which will lead to their growth and success.
As my brother, mentor, and business partner in the Build 1 Thing Community likes to say “a human is a human is a human”.
And I had a very human moment by not composing myself.
After I had time to reflect on how I could have shown up better in this situation I connected with that member and gave them an apology.
I expressed the care I have for them and the mission of our efforts.
That we are a mission with a company, and not a company with a mission.
And although, they shared they didn’t take it personally.
I still couldn’t help but feel deeply on how I handled the deliverability.
I want to redefine what it means to lead a team with empathy.
To truly care first, and lead second.
My own “trauma” in the workspace is being pushed beyond the the threshold.
Being taken advantage of because of happy, kind, and optimistic I am.
But then I have these moments that trigger me in business performance.
And I know where it comes from.
My former business partner had a relentless drive for results.
However, his approach in that drive was not the greatest.
And my opportunity is to integrate his relentlessness but to shift his approach and replace it with compassionate leadership.
When I shared that with my team member they replied: “you know, our entire team is comprised of not only highly sensitive individuals but we’re all also very trauma informed.”
This really opened my eyes.
I’ve never had this in a work environment before.
And creates an opportunity to really re-evaluate my own Drive for Results.
Lominger Competency: Drive for Results
Ok, so I said I was going to break down what Drive for Results means based on the Lominger Competency framework.
BUT, I want to make sure there is expressed interest before I deep dive into this.
In fact, there are 38 competencies and 10 career stallers.
I could go friggin deep on this subject.
Here is a quick high level over of what Lominger Competencies are.
If you are serious about skill development. This is the framework.
For each competency there are 3 categories.
Each category has examples.
With these examples, they provide context.
Which either resonates for (you will know), or not.
Based on what category you fall in. Will be the guiding force on how to coach you out or in to that behavior.
Drive for Results Example:
May not push self or others hard enough
May not set clear expectations or objectives
May not focus on results, but rather on processes or tasks
May avoid setting high goals or pushing for timely completion
Has a strong bottom-line orientation
Can push self and others to achieve desired results
Sets clear performance objectives and holds self and others accountable
Demonstrates tenacity and persistence in overcoming obstacles
Can effectively navigate the balance between quality and quantity of work
Is goal-driven and committed to meeting or exceeding expectations
May push too hard, leading to employee burnout or dissatisfaction
May sacrifice long-term goals for short-term wins
May focus too much on results at the expense of teamwork, collaboration, or employee well-being
May take excessive risks or cut corners to achieve objectives
May be perceived as overly competitive or aggressive in pursuing goals
Understanding the different skill levels of the Drive for Results competency will help you or your organization develop a targeted approach to improvement.
So do me a favor, because there is so much more to these.
Which I would give real life stories to each competency.
Vote and comment below if this is something you want to learn.
If so, I will work the best next course of action in order to deliver you the material and clear and concise as possible.
What I’m listening to this week:
Not only does it shoot full body chills through my spine but this video and song exemplify leadership in full effect.
It relates to leadership through the themes of faith, vision, embracing the unknown, resilience, humility, and compassion.
For one, in God.
And second, this father to his son. Watch the video and I wont need to explain.
A strong drive for results and strive for excellence is a great characteristic.
But equally as important is to recognize the value of nurturing relationships and fostering a healthy environment. At home or at work.
Our pursuit of success should not come at the expense of our connections with others.
The relationships we cultivate with others will leave a longer lasting impact, far beyond any transient accomplishments.
Just remember, people don’t remember what you said.
They remember how you made them feel.
When my day comes, I hope each and every participant of my funeral speaks about how happy and empowered I made them feel.
Big Love, Nadeem